Average Playtime: 15 hours

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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About

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a game about a ninja (or shinobi, as they call it), who is seeking revenge in the Sengoku era Japan.

Plot

The game is set in the 16th century in a fictionalized version of Japan. The main protagonist is a member of a shinobi clan. A samurai from the rival Ashina clan captured the protagonist's master, and the protagonist himself lost his arm trying to protect his leader. However, a sculptor of Buddha statues managed to replace the lost limb with an advanced prosthetic arm. The protagonist accepted a new name, Sekiro, meaning “one-armed wolf”. Now his goal is to avenge his clan and to save his leader from the hands of their enemies.

Gameplay

The player controls Sekiro from the third person view and navigates the character as he fights multiple enemies. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice features an innovative combat system that doesn't use hit points. Instead, the opponents can be killed with a single precision strike. However, the player has to fight his or her way through the opponent's blocks and parries to land the deadly blow. The main character fights with his sword (katana) in the right hand, while his left hand can host a variety of upgrades, such as an ax, a torch, or a shield. The game also emphasizes stealth action. The player has to use a grappling hook to access multiple locations. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has no multiplayer.

System requirements for Xbox One

System requirements for PC

System requirements for PlayStation 4

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Last Modified: Sep 25, 2022

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice reviews and comments

Awesome atmosphere.
Actually really easy
«Sit back and relax»
From Software's best game. 
«Can’t stop playing»
Sekiro is easily one of the most frustrating games I've ever played. It is filled to the brim with horrible design decisions and intentionally unfun gameplay. It's a real shame, because FromSoftware clearly put a lot of passionate work into Sekiro's development, and with a few relatively minor adjustments, it could have been extremely satisfying, visually impressive, and mechanically unique, if a bit niche.

The most glaring issue with Sekiro is not its combat system. As a matter of fact, the 1-on-1 martial combat is the best part of the game. When you get into the rhythm of battle, trading parries back and forth, everything good about Sekiro comes together in what might be described as a masterpiece reminiscent of traditional Japanese swordplay. It's only when FromSoftware decides to depart from this refined experience that things go wrong. Unfortunately, they do that a lot. Boss encounters continually subvert the surprisingly simple combat system of Sekiro, asking the player to change their playstyle away from the one the game is designed for. Instead of trading blows and parrying in a dance of swords, you are forced to dodge around and look for openings to deal a small sliver of damage, often with more than one enemy at a time. Sekiro isn't well suited for this style of play, and combat can last upwards of 15 minutes. Mistakes are punished severely, with most bosses able to deal 3/4 of your health with each attack. Bosses could have dealt half their current damage and still have been challenging.

Some mini-bosses ended up being harder than the full featured bosses because of the additional "trash" enemies. In practice, you would use Sekiro's barebones stealth system to kill all the extra enemies, then attempt the boss. If you die, you have to repeat that process, which can take 2-3 minutes of setup. Some bosses felt like the extra enemies were just tacked on because FromSoftware realized it was too easy. Some mini-boss arenas were too small for the game's camera to behave correctly, so you couldn't see your opponent properly. After the most difficult encounters, I was just happy they were over and that I never had to do them again. Their rewards almost never felt worth the costs.

Which brings me to Sekiro's resource management. On death, you lose half your experience and half your money, and have a chance of infecting an NPC, halting their questline. All of these "punishments" were trivialized in one way or another. The real cost of death was the consumable resources you used during a boss. Prosthetic Tools, power ups, and Martial Arts introduced some much needed variety into Sekiro's combat, but they cost Spirit Emblems to use. Other consumable items never felt good to use, because on death (and you ARE going to die) they were completely wasted. One boss enemy even requires a rare consumable for you to even deal damage to it. You could purchase Spirit Emblems or find them as a drop from killing lesser enemies, but their cost increases throughout the game for no good reason. All of this prohibited you from consistently using tools, abilities, and items on bosses without grinding trash enemies for items and money.

The story is probably good if you have an affinity for traditional Japanese culture. The same is true for the setting and environments; I only wish there was a way to take better screenshots that didn't have Wolf front and center. I also want to mention the stellar movement system: the grappling hook, sprinting, no stamina management, jumping, and navigating the world felt really smooth and was a welcome change to the typical Soulsborne formula. I have other minor complaints about poor visual clarity, Perilous Attacks, bad camera angles, low enemy variety, lack of build variety, and one particularly awful Demonic Beast boss fight, but those could be handwaved away were it not for the intentionally frustrating boss design and resource management.

I'd only recommend Sekiro if you are a glutton for punishment and a fan of traditional Japanese culture. For almost everyone else, Sekiro is too flawed an experience to be worth the parts that really shine. But if you can look past the flaws, and that's a big if, Sekiro provides a uniquely polished experience of Japanese swordplay.
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Concise Review:

Excellent combat. I really enjoyed the fast paced, aggressive nature to it. It probably has the best parry/deflect mechanic I’ve seen. Excellent enemy variety and design. Cool environments and atmosphere. Excellent difficulty level. It’s challenging, satisfying, but rarely frustrating. Excellent game. 

Journal Style Review:

Opening thoughts. I liked the opening cutscene and the kick off to the story. I like the look and style of the world. Graphics are fine, nothing special though. I thinks it’s funny how similar the text and menus are to dark souls. They didn’t change anything. The added mobility and stealth portions of the game I think I will enjoy. I also like how they are explaining the items and mechanics of the game in this one. 

The combat is excellent. It’s very fast paced and aggressive which I appreciate. My timing and understanding is getting better. If it continues to grow and I continue to be able to do more and more this game is going to be a lot of fun.

I’m finding the difficulty very appropriate to start. It’s challenging for sure but doesn’t feel impossible.

Some excellent boss fights. I’ve really enjoyed the samurai style sword fights. They are epic. The combat has such a great feel to it.

The enemies and bosses have been creative and plentiful. This game is great. I’m really enjoying it.

I like how this game is still very challenging but it feels less frustrating than dark souls. There isn’t as much randomness where the game punishes you for no reason. It’s more fun to play.

Better than dark souls 3 and jedi fallen order. Dark souls 2 is still my favourite, but it was the first one I played and I was blown away by the style of the game.

The divine dragon boss fight was pretty lame but there were a lot of good bosses so it’s not too big a deal.

I actually gave up on the final boss fight. I’m sure I could beat it if I devoted a bunch of time to it but I didn’t have the desire. I may pick it up again in the future but for now I’m calling it quits. A bit disappointed that I didn’t fully beat it, I always beat games, but it wasn’t feeling it. Great game though. Very much enjoyed it.

Current Score: A-
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The best game I've played so far.

Before Sekiro, TW3 was my favourite game because of the immersion, storyline and the open world, but Sekiro made me feel so strange the whole game.

Sekiro is a masterpiece, from software took everything they learned through the last games and made not better, but different. The feeling of unknow stills there, you never know what's your next step, even the game being a bit more linear than dark souls and bloodborne. The way sekiro tells the story, and even how it let's you know that the wolf is named sekiro, is awesome.

I can't recommend more this game, just go, try, don't give up, you'll thank me later!
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
Meh only because this game is too hard for me and retired after Guardian Ape.
Best combat system ever!
«Blew my mind»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
9/10

The game is done very well, in the best traditions from software the world of the game is seamless, you can always find a place to see the places that you have already been or will visit, this is very cool. The game has good combat mechanics, and finally a full-fledged storyline and overall the product is extremely good, but would not deserve an Exceptional rating if not for its hardcore nature. The game makes you suffer and learn from mistakes, which is sometimes lacking in modern games.
I can see this is a very good game, but most of the time while playing I kept thinking what an exceptionally good game Bloodborne is. Playing Bloodborne I never felt cheated or anything, but with Sekiro I felt screwed over time and time again and the game somehow seems less polished. It definitely is very pretty and when you get the combat down it feels quite satisfying, but I'm at the final boss now and I think I'm gonna quit. I've defeated a lot of tough bosses and I'm satisfied. Maybe I'll try in a little while. 

Try the game (it IS good!), but borrow it from someone, make sure you can refund or buy at a discount, because odds are it's not your thing. 





I’m editing this a couple of months later, after I’d restarted my playthrough and just finished the game for the first time. 
Most of what I said still stands, though I view the game in a more positive light. It is a very, very good game! I like it a lot better than Dark Souls 3 (which I do like!), but not as much as Bloodborne, but I do find Sekiro to be overall a more frustrating experience than the other two games. 
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